FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Houston, Texas, February 20, 2019
Statement from Executive Director, Rachna Khare
RE: 02/18/19 MURDER-SUICIDE IN SUGAR LAND
On February 18, our community experienced a tragic murder-suicide. Initial reports state that a South Asian man shot and killed his wife and then turned the gun on himself. The family’s friends spoke to reporters of the couple’s involvement in the community and said they saw no indications of problems. All expressed their deep love for the family.
Throughout the day, we at Daya spoke with community members who expressed their pain and frustration. We are encouraged to see respectful conversations that speak to the broader problem of domestic violence in our community.
The reality is that the dynamics of South Asian culture keep domestic violence a shameful secret within the family. Non-physical forms of violence such as emotional, psychological, financial, and sexual abuse are minimized or ignored. However, these types of violence have severe traumatic effects not only on the victims but also the children who bear witness. Survivors are often blamed and shamed when they seek help and are pressured to “stay together for the children’s sake.” In many cases, they lose everything when they come forward. The stigma of divorce keeps families unhealthy and unsafe. The dangers associated with abuse are already incredibly high, but this social stigma creates the added risk of losing one’s entire support system.
As a community, we must do better.
Research shows us that South Asian survivors face challenges in mainstream systems due to language barriers and lack of cultural expertise. Our goal at Daya is to ensure that South Asian survivors do not fall through the cracks due to issues such as language, culture, and social stigma. As we write these words, it pains us to know that Houston has had 5 murder-suicides just this month. These deaths could have been prevented.
Domestic violence crosses all nationalities, incomes, education levels, and social standings in the community. The South Asian community is not immune to domestic violence, and continued silence will only perpetuate abuse and keep us all unsafe. In 2018, Daya supported 462 survivors, however, research demonstrates that 1 in 3 women are impacted by domestic violence.
There is still so much work to be done.
It is with a heavy heart that we at Daya recommit to our work and we ask that you join us. Believe survivors. Pay heed to their words. They do not deserve any form of abuse and it is not their fault. Hold abusers accountable. Raise the bar for what is acceptable in our community. Prioritize safety and compassion above all else. By breaking the stigma, you create a future where children not only understand what healthy relationships are, they demand them.
To the victims – Your death will not be in vain. We will hold you in our hearts as we continue in our mission to end domestic violence in the South Asian community.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, please reach out through Daya’s confidential helpline at 713-981-7645. Abuse can be physical, but it can also be emotional, psychological, sexual, financial, or verbal. You are not alone, and we are here for you.
PO Box 770773
Houston, TX 77215
Helpline (713) 981-7645
Office (713) 842-7222